Governor Brown Takes Final Action on 2018 Legislation
Oct. 4, 2018
Governor Brown gave his final signatures and vetoes this past weekend, ending his four terms as California’s governor. This year alone, he weighed in on 1,217 pieces of legislation, signing 1,016 into law and vetoing 201. In the end, the Governor’s decisions brought mostly good news for counties, approving the most helpful measures and halting some of the most harmful.
Starting with CSAC’s highest priority at the end of the legislative session, Governor Brown signed important legislation to strengthen California’s ability to prevent and recover from catastrophic wildfires. SB 901 (Dodd) represents a comprehensive solution that includes $1 billion in funding over five years for improved fire prevention and forest health programs. The new law also includes regulatory streamlining and tools to help utilities remain solvent, among other items (see last week’s Bulletin article for a full write-up on SB 901).
The Governor also signed SB 1260 (Jackson), which CSAC supported as a way to address the wildfire crisis facing California. The bill authorizes federal, state and local agencies to engage in collaborative forestry management, including provisions to increase prescribed burning, and creates new opportunities for small private landowners to partner with public agencies to mitigate wildfire risk. This new law also enhances collaboration between local land use decision makers and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) to identify potential wildfire hazards.
Aside from wildfire legislation, the Governor considered dozens of bills on the topic of workplace harassment. CSAC was pleased that the Governor signed SB 1343 (Mitchell) in lieu of several other bills which would have imposed onerous and counterproductive employer mandates. CSAC supported SB 1343 for its proactive, thoughtful, and meaningful approach to reducing workplace harassment. It establishes sexual harassment training requirements for non-supervisory positions to ensure safe workplaces and provide greater liability protection for employers.
The Governor also signed SB 212 (Jackson) which is the culmination of a multi-year effort to establish a comprehensive statewide producer run take-back system for home-generated “sharps” (syringes, pen needles, lancets, etc.) and medical waste. CSAC has long supported extended producer responsibility strategies to provide an efficient and effective way of decreasing improper disposal of certain products.
Another significant signing was SB 1459 (Cannella), which CSAC sponsored during the final month of session to give counties additional time to review pending commercial cannabis applications and complete the environmental review process. SB 1459 took effect immediately, which places counties in a better position to get through a major backlog of cannabis permit applications and prevent a market disruption.
Shifting to criminal justice, CSAC is pleased to report that the Governor signed SB 215 (Beall), which remedies a number of concerns related to the new jail diversion program for people experiencing mental illness created by AB 1810 (Chapter 34, Statutes of 2018). Specifically, the bill excludes certain violent offenses from the diversion program (including murder and sex offenses) and preserves victim restitution.
On the flip side, Governor Brown vetoed two bills which CSAC strongly opposed. The first, SB 1303 (Pan), would have imposed a costly new mandate that requires non-charter counties with a population of 500,000 or greater to replace the Office of Coroner or Sheriff-Coroner with an Office of Medical Examiner. The second, AB 3115 (Gipson), was a measure created in the last days of the legislative session, without policy committee review, and would have eroded local control of the emergency medical services system.
Counties can find a complete rundown of the Governor’s actions on bills of interest to counties at the links below.
- Administration of Justice
- Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources
- Government Finance and Administration
- Health and Human Services
- Housing, Land Use & Transportation
Additionally, over the course of the next five weeks, CSAC will be publishing a series of articles focusing on new laws that counties will need to implement come January 1. Please feel free to contact CSAC Legislative Staff with any questions.